CHAPTER 4Rise of Corporate Power in America

Chartered privileges are a burden, under which the people of Britain, and other European nations, groan in misery.

—THOMAS EARLE, pamphleteer, 1823

Today’s business corporation is an artificial creation, shielding owners and managers while preserving corporate privilege and existence. Artificial or not, corporations have won more rights under law than people have—rights which government has protected with armed force.


The fact that the interests of corporations and people of wealth are closely intertwined tends to obscure the significance of the corporation as an institution in its own right. On the more positive side, the corporate charter is a social innovation ...

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